By VAN HOLLAND
Discipline has been a big part of the SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars struggles this season. Just the small things on and off the field have added up. That all changed Thursday when they got that under control and defeated the St. Maria Goretti Gaels 13-4 in the second losers bracket game.
Cougars coach Tommy Tolson has been trying to teach his kids about discipline all season. Not the behavior type, but the mental and physical parts of the game.
Chris Owens was disciplined in his start Thursday. He was stellar for the Cougars. He threw a complete game earning the win. He gave up four runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out two.
"Chris threw the ball well for us today," Tolson said. "He was around the plate most of the game and put us in a position to win."
Offensively the Cougars were on a roll after coming off of a game where the got just four hits the previous day. Seven out of the nine Cougar starters had at least one RBI in the game. Freshman Jarratt Mobley led them with three RBI while going 2 for 4 at the plate. Nick Webb had three hits and Justin Letchworth chipped in with two. Both Webb and Letchworth both scored twice in the game. Justin Rodriguez went 3 for 5 in the game and had a RBI and scored twice.
"We have talked about doing the little things when we have people in scoring position," Tolson said. "The way we stacked the lineup today and executed is a positive sign. When we get people on base and score them then we can win games."
Tolson said it was good to see everyone hitting the ball and getting the sacrifice bunts down when they were asked to execute at certain times. He knew his team had been capable of hitting the ball like this all season and was glad to see them come to life and make things work in their favor.
"I want them to feel good about what they do offensively," Tolson said. "They did a great job with that today and I hope it just carries over into the next game."
Owens made good pitches the entire game and was able to get hitters out on the pitches he made. The Cougars struggled in the field behind him though. They committed five errors and two of them led to the Gaels scoring runs. Two fly balls were dropped in the outfield and two balls weren't picked at first base after the infielders made great plays and there was a ball booted at shortstop.
The Cougars were able to work around the errors though and help Owens get out of jams early in the game.
"I was tickled at the way we came back today after loosing Wednesday," Tolson said. "We had a talk after the game Wednesday and I told them we were capable of doing a lot of things but it is just a matter of them making their minds up to get it done."
Adam Bleckenstone took the loss. He threw three innings and gave up seven runs on five hits, while walking three and striking out one.
Jake Moats had a RBI single as did Jackson Roth. Bleckenstone hit a double and laster scored and Nick Blake added a hit.
SouthWest plays Jefferson Forest at 2:30 p.m. today. The game times changed because of the weather conditions Thursday that forced tournament chairman Charles Johnson to postpone the 7 p.m. game and move it to 10 a.m. today.